Gifts can be such powerful and transformative forces.
When I was young, my mother was very specific about gift giving. The gift had to match either the stature of the relationship to the person you were gifting, or reciprocal to the gift you were likely to receive from the other person. Gift giving became highly strategic, and to this day holiday and birthday shopping is still anxiety provoking!
There are some gifts I received however, that were always much more—as if they were meant to provoke a new experience, thought, or inspiration. They were often simple, and interestingly, they are the ones I still keep with me. My Godmother, Thalia, was a master at this. The copy of the book The Little Prince she gifted me was maddening at first (I was 11 years old) because it seemed I was missing something critical in the story. But something made me keep it around for years. At some point after I graduated college I picked it up and read it again and burst into tears. One year she gave me a watercolor painting of a peony done by an artist she knew—and I am looking at it right now in my living room—which fills me with such joy. This was the first piece of real art I ever owned, and how appropriate that it would become my favorite plant.
These kinds of gifts transform us.
If gifting is just transactional—I receive a gift so I give a gift—the balance sheet is cleared, then that gesture does not create a healthy future or relationship. It merely keeps us out of someone’s debt.
I have come to understand that Thalia’s gifts were given for their effect rather than out of any sense of obligation or reciprocity. And their simplicity, thoughtfulness and modesty allowed them to grow in meaning as I matured.
Regenerative Agriculture is precisely this form of gift giving, every day. A farmer is constantly looking for just the right gift to give back to her farm, her soil, her animals, or her community that will allow the abundance on the farm to grow… so she can give even more. It’s that rare type of gifting that is done without any expectation of reward or gift in return except those that grow organically over time. And, like my godmother, it requires a deep commitment to an abundant and healthy future.
Industrial Agriculture is the polar opposite. It gives back just enough to get what it needs. More often than not, it gives back less than the environment, our animals, or our community needs. It keeps costs down and prices cheap. It is the cause of much of our environmental damage, and our current chronic health epidemic.
Learning this distinction is an important turning point for many.
If you are like most of our partner families at Farmers To You, someone in your community gave you this gift years ago. They recommended you try joining our partnership for our future health, and you responded, perhaps still unsure of the true meaning of your choice. Today you know who is feeding you each week. You know that they are giving back to the soil, the land, their animals in a way that increases fertility and abundance. Then they can give even more: seven years ago our farmers could only offer us about 120 different items each week. Last week they offered us 450 different items. That is because of your choice to invest in the future, and your farmers' deep confidence in you and the future of this partnership.
This season is the perfect time to share this story with friends who would benefit from this gift. They may get it right away—and join all of us—or it may take them a few years like it did for me to understand the beautiful message in The Little Prince. But giving is the real gift after all, and you will be all the more prosperous for it.
Thank you as always for your partnership. Together we are making an extraordinary difference in the health and abundance of a little part of the planet. And the more we give others the gift and opportunity to join us, the more it grows and blossoms into something regenerative and wholly sustainable.
Greg and the team at Farmers To You